New unemployment claims continued to rise last week in Maine, as roughly 2,900 residents filed initial claims or reopened previously discontinued claims.

About 2,600 initial claims were filed last week for state and federal jobless aid, up from 2,170 claims the previous week, the Maine Department of Labor reported Thursday. The number of new claims filed each week has been trending upward since August.

In addition, Mainers filed about 42,950 continuing claims for state, federal or extended unemployment benefits last week, down slightly from 44,000 continuing claims the previous week.

About 12,550 continuing claims were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 14,200 filed under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. In addition, about 14,300 continuing claims were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 1,900 were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Continuing claims must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and Nov. 7, the Labor Department paid out over $1.6 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

It has handled roughly 198,800 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 96,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. There have been over 2.7 million continuing claims filed.

Nationally, the number of initial unemployment claims filed fell last week to 709,000, a still-high level but the lowest figure since March and a sign that the job market might be slowly healing, The Associated Press reported.

The figures coincide with a sharp resurgence in confirmed viral infections to an all-time high above 120,000 a day, according to the AP. Cases are rising in 49 states, and deaths are increasing in 39.

The nation has now recorded 240,000 virus-related deaths and 10.3 million confirmed infections.

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